Alcohol Tolerance May be a Sign of Alcohol Dependence
People sometimes take pride in their ability to “hold their liquor” better than others. Instead they should consult their physician or other health care provider. That’s because alcohol tolerance is often considered a symptom of alcohol dependency.
Alcohol tolerance refers to a decreased response to the effects of ethanol in alcoholic beverages. This reduced sensitivity requires that higher quantities of alcohol be consumed in order to achieve the same effects as before tolerance began to occur.
There is some evidence that people with a family history of alcoholism may develop tolerance more quickly or easily than others.
Heavy alcohol consumption over a period of years can lead to "reverse tolerance." A liver can be damaged by alcohol abuse leading to a buildup of fat and scar tissue. The reduced ability of such a liver to metabolize or break down alcohol means that small amounts can lead to a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and resulting intoxication.
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